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PAN Foundation commends over-the-counter hearing aid rule

The PAN Foundation commends the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s final rule, announced recently, that will allow millions of Americans to access over-the-counter hearing aids, beginning in October.

Until now, all hearing aids, which are often not covered by Medicare and commercial health insurance plans, required specialty doctor’s visits to be fitted and could cost up to $6,000 per ear. This new category of hearing aids, meant for people with mild to moderate hearing impairment, will be available in stores or online without seeing a doctor or obtaining a prescription. In a statement, President Joe Biden said the average savings will be nearly $3,000 per pair of hearing aids.

The PAN Foundation has long advocated for hearing coverage for people with Medicare insurance. Since it was introduced in 1965, Medicare—the federal health insurance program for people over 65 and those with covered disabilities—has not included coverage for hearing exams and hearing aids. Nearly half of people older than age 75 and one-third of those ages 65 to 74 have hearing loss, but only one in four Americans diagnosed with hearing issues uses a hearing aid, with cost being the major barrier to obtaining them.

“This policy development will enable millions of people to access hearing aids, regardless of their insurance coverage, and at a more affordable price,” said PAN Foundation President and CEO Kevin L. Hagan. “We continue to advocate for hearing coverage for all Medicare beneficiaries, but this is a step in the right direction.”

Read more about PAN’s policy positions, including hearing coverage for Medicare beneficiaries.

About the PAN Foundation

The PAN Foundation is an independent, national 501 (c)(3) organization dedicated to helping federally and commercially insured people living with life-threatening, chronic, and rare diseases with the out-of-pocket costs for their prescribed medications.

Since 2004, we have provided more than 1 million underinsured patients with $4 billion in financial assistance. Partnering with generous donors, healthcare providers and pharmacies, we provide the underinsured population access to the healthcare treatments they need to best manage their conditions and focus on improving their quality of life. Learn more at panfoundation.org.